I'm a graduate student in the humanities and it behooves me to learn Italian, French and German asap. I have a really good textbook for French (French for Reading, Sandberg and Tatham), and I intend to take a German reading course. I don't have to pass an exam for Italian, but in my subfield knowing it thoroughly will be essential.
However, my school doesn't offer an Italian reading course, and there seems to be a dearth of textbooks designed specifically for reading (I could only really find this one, http://www.amazon.com/From-Italian-English-Reading-Knowledge/dp/007353661X/, and it seems oddly difficult to get hold of and not overly well-reviewed, insofar as reviews of it even exist - though has anyone used it?). I took a semester of Italian in undergrad, but knowing how to ask for eggplant at the supermarket does not much help the reading of belletristic scholarly articles...
I know a number of graduate students are in the position of having to learn modern languages for reading, so I wondered if anyone had recommendations for textbooks, etc, that are good for self-learning, and encompass enough of the grammar to get one up to speed with scholarly prose? I'm pretty familiar with learning languages and have studied Latin as a primary subject for a number of years, so Italian shouldn't in theory be excessively difficult. It's just a case of finding a suitable resource, really, and that seems easier said than done. I wonder if just sucking it up, getting a decent Italian grammar, and drilling myself on verb forms and so forth is the best way, though vocabulary building can be a challenge. Plus, I enjoy the learning via progressive reading method.